Many people believe that an ecommerce company is simply a website from which customers can purchase goods and services over the internet. The opposite is true: websites serve as virtual showrooms for businesses, much like brick-and-mortar locations. As any business owner will tell you, it’s not just about organizing aisles and guiding customers through the checkout process; it is about attracting and retaining customers. Inventory management, processing, stocking, and completing a mountain of financial data are all tasks that must be completed. Surprisingly, many new business owners are unaware that this also applies to their internet-based endeavors.
When you are just getting started in ecommerce, it is a wise decision to consider a platform to build your business around.The goal of these systems, which are also known as ecommerce software, is to provide end-to-end commerce management solutions. In addition to the front-end website, various backend tasks are required for the website to function correctly and efficiently. An ecommerce platform is similar to a command center in that it allows you to manage inventories, run operations, track customer behavior and product popularity, and organize products into an online catalog, all while providing a single point of contact. Some of the Zoho Commerce features we’ve added for your convenience are listed below. Zoho Commerce can be compared to any other ecommerce platform using this method.
E-commerce platforms are critical investments due to the steep learning curve. Businesses are frequently hampered in their ability to grow due to limitations imposed by their ecommerce software platform. You must provide an answer to the question, “How can I choose the best ecommerce platform for my business?”
To tackle that general question, we need to consider these first:
- So, what exactly do you hope to accomplish with your company?
- What does it take for your company to be successful on the internet?
- What difficulties are you now confronted with?
If you’re already using a platform, there are a few things to think about.
Do you already have an internet presence for your e-commerce business? In what ways is your current situation impeding your progress? Examine whether any of the following issues are present:
- Alternatively, your current platform may have become stale or untrustworthy. The system’s ability to keep up with your ever-increasing demands
- If this is the case, how will you be able to connect your CRM system and social media with this new tool?
- Are you having difficulty keeping up with the rising costs of hiring an IT team to maintain your website and run your business?
- Is there a security issue with your current platform that needs to be addressed?
When deciding on an ecommerce platform, you will most likely consider the platform’s feature set, performance, and vendor expertise. When making a decision, avoid comparing yourself to other companies and instead concentrate on your own goals and challenges. When choosing an ecommerce platform, seven factors should be taken into account.
Design and development
Consider how simple it will be to get your store up and running as a first consideration.One of the most powerful software-as-a-service platforms (software as a service allows customers to subscribe to this software, allowing them to use it over the internet). You could have your company up and running in a matter of hours. Signing up for and configuring your store will not necessitate the use of coding abilities. As a result, these platforms have many themes to choose from, making it simple to personalize your experience. Customization may necessitate the services of a developer. Remember that customizing a template will cost you money and time in the long run, so keep that in mind when creating your budget.
Furthermore, as previously mentioned, you should ensure that the design of your website is both responsive and compatible with mobile devices. According to eMarketer, your company cannot afford to miss out on a chance because your website is challenging to use on a mobile device.
Everything in your command center will be moving at breakneck speed. Many decisions that your ecommerce platform must make, such as what’s in stock, what’s out of stock, and what can no longer be advertised as available for purchase, should be automated. If a customer takes the time and effort to choose your company over your competitors, imagine how disappointed they will be if the product they wanted is out of stock and they must cancel their order!
Return control is also a part of the administration process. Do you have the option to exchange or return an item? What are the prerequisites for success? How much free time do I have? A full refund, a portion of a full refund, a product exchange, or none of the above options are available. Your customers will regard that you have automated this procedure as an indication of your trustworthiness.
Most business owners are concerned with the appearance and functionality of their websites, but failing to address the backend, where their employees spend the majority of their time, is a common mistake. If your user interface is challenging to navigate or complex, users will become disoriented and waste time on strategy rather than money-making operations. As a result, ensure that the backend interface is simple and easy to use.As a result, make sure the backend interface is simple to use. Check that the ecommerce platform you select is compatible with your CRM and other business tools.
Why selecting the best eCommerce platform matters for your business
You must do more than simply list your products online to establish an eCommerce business. Much more complicated than you might think! Running a traditional store or manufacturing facility requires the same strategic thinking and planning as creating and maintaining an eCommerce firm.
If you can master this criterion, you will benefit from the digital environment, which allows you to automate and streamline a wide range of operations and activities that previously required human intervention.
When selecting an e-commerce platform, keep in mind that your site will have an impact on the four factors listed below:
- How quickly do you expect your company to grow?
- The costs of building and maintaining your eCommerce platform are included in your company’s operating expenses.
- In business, “customer engagement” refers to the ability to influence how customers interact with your company.
- If you choose the right e-commerce platform, you can achieve your objectives.
Remember that eCommerce merchants are typically more concerned with in-depth topics such as design, user experience, branding, and content rather than the fundamentals of selling their products. Nonetheless, the most severe issues with eCommerce stem from its business practices, such as how it interacts with customers and develops new prospects. Using one of several methods, determine whether your eCommerce platform will be successful in the long run.
What is the best eCommerce platform?
Making a decision on an eCommerce platform solely based on its popularity is terrible. What matters is that your organization’s goals and objectives are met by an eCommerce platform that assists you in reaching those goals and objectives.
According to a recent study, the most popular e-commerce platform isn’t always the best for achieving your goals.
Among these goals are increasing revenue, increasing customer involvement, and entering or creating a new market, to name a few. This is especially true when multiple parties are involved and their objectives are at odds. In this situation, strong leadership is essential; without it, you will struggle to get your eCommerce business up and running.
When choosing an eCommerce platform, it is also critical to consider your staff’s technological proficiency at the time of purchase. According to the experts, using an eCommerce platform with a high barrier to entry is not a good idea if you have a staff that lacks technological competence. In this case, you’ll need to assemble a team of professionals to assist you in achieving your goal.
This decision may impact your choice due to your company’s market position. In an industry where technology is constantly evolving, you’ll need a platform that can keep up with the rate at which your business grows and changes.
What are the various types of e-commerce systems available?
There are five different eCommerce platforms to consider, as shown in the diagram below.
- Build your eCommerce platform
- Traditional eCommerce platform
- Open-source eCommerce platform
- Cloud eCommerce platform
- SaaS eCommerce platform
1. Build your platforms
To be successful, it is necessary to pay a developer to work on it internally or externally. As previously stated, this is becoming less and less common in today’s technological world. This may be your only option depending on your firm’s specialization and whether you require a solution that commercial eCommerce platforms cannot provide.
2. Traditional platforms
To use this platform, you must pay a one-time fee that must be repurchased each year. Your IT staff and engineers will then design and customize the platform, which will be installed either on-premises or in the cloud, depending on your preferences.Oracle Commerce (Kentico), Hybris (Hybris), and IBM Digital Commerce are examples of traditional e-commerce platforms (IBM).
3. Open source platforms
In contrast to traditional platforms, using a cloud-based platform does not necessitate the purchase of a license upfront. Every stage of the development process, from design to implementation to updates and migration, has an associated cost. Magento, an open-source eCommerce platform, is a great example because it is free and open-source.
4. Cloud platforms
The world of cloud computing platforms is fraught with ambiguity. To create a cloud platform, traditional and open-source systems were slapped onto a hosting system and restarted. Other options include Magento Enterprise Cloud, Salesforce Commerce, and Volusion.
5. SaaS platforms
A single codebase underpins the vast majority of SaaS-based eCommerce systems. Everyone who uses an eCommerce SaaS platform receives the same technology for a flat monthly fee, and this fee covers server usage and server maintenance, security, and upgrades.